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There are a lot of great reasons not to see Ender’s Game this weekend. Let me hit you with an incomplete list. Advertisements for the film have been confusing. Harrison Ford’s voiceovers sound kind of awkward. The footage looks a little video game-ish. It’s only getting blah plus reviews from critics. It might be one of the last nice theme park weekends of the year. Movie tickets are expensive. Director Gavin Hood’s take on Wolverine was not very good. There will be Halloween parties. All of these and a whole lot more are perfectly valid reasons to stay away, but let me tell you one that isn’t: Orson Scott Card’s hatred for gay people.
I like the gays. I own a yellow shirt that says "Equality Is My Priority", and when given the chance to write about gay marriage, I enthusiastically endorse it. What society needs more than anything else is happy and devoted couples who have made a commitment to stick it out for the long haul. What it does not need more of, however, is people who fixate on one issue and lose all sight of the bigger picture.
Movies have to be judged by their content, not by who created them. Your average film is organized and executed by hundreds of people of different races and genders who boast different sexual orientations, different religions and different political leanings. The only thing they have in common is their shared desire to make the final product as brilliant and moving as possible, and if you separate the group and start looking at each one of these creators individually and their perceived motivations, you’re almost always going to find some horrific and unseemly things beneath the surface. Why? Because a high percentage of us suck.
Disgusted by violence against women and want to show it by boycotting any film involving men with histories of domestic violence? Well, have fun throwing away your copies of The Hangover (Mike Tyson), Iron Man (Terrence Howard), Milk (Sean Penn), Platoon (Charlie Sheen) and No Country For Old Men (Josh Brolin).
Let’s say your chosen issue is race, and you refuse to watch anything involving men or women who have been accused of racism. Well, that means Braveheart and True Grit are out thanks to Mel Gibson’s numerous, well-publicized rants and that infamous 1971 Playboy interview John Wayne gave about white supremacy and selfish Indians trying to keep their land.
God forbid you ever felt like making a list of movies to avoid based on stars who have cheated on their spouses or ignored their children or acted like selfish, entitled dicks to everyone around them. It would take you months.
Card is a bit of a special case since he was so belligerent about his opinion for years (though he says he's backing off), but regardless, you still can’t look at the creator. You have to look at the finished product because flawed people have played a role in an incredible number of beautiful and unbiased things.
Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were not only good friends but shared some bigoted views against Jewish people. Electricity and the assembly line, however, are efficient and clean innovations that don’t see class, race or hatred of any kind. John Lennon was, by most accounts, a horrendous father to his first child for long stretches, but that doesn’t make "Imagine" a less touching song.
People will always let you down, but beautiful pieces of art take on lives of their own, one absent the biases and flaws of the men and women who helped create them. A beautiful piece of art is eternal and incorruptible, and while no one is claiming Ender's Game is a movie that will define its generation, the same logic still applies.
Everyone who has seen Ender’s Game seems to agree there’s not a single shred of homophobia present anywhere in the runtime. Lionsgate has loudly and aggressively proclaimed its support for the LGBT community, and beyond that, none of the money from the film is going to Card himself. Therefore, the best thing to do as a consumer is to decide whether or not you want to see the movie based on the film’s actual merit. Forget Card and forget every single other person who played a role in the film. If you think it looks good, head to the theater. If you’ve got better things to do with your time, do something else. Either way, use the film as an excuse to let those around you know you support equal rights.
Don’t feel bad about enjoying a piece of art because the person who created it is a douche, and don’t make someone else feel bad about it either. If you refuse to embrace any movie financed or in someway created by someone who is a hateful jackass, you’re not going to have anything left to watch. And if you single Ender’s Game out and only protest this one, you should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why that makes sense.
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